C. J., MILLER, P. J., and REESE, J.
Miller, Presiding Judge.
a jury trial, Cody W. Dowda was convicted of criminal
trespass. (OCGA § 16-7-21 (b) (1)). Dowda appeals
from the denial of his motion for new trial, contending that
(1) the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction;
(2) the trial court erred in admitting hearsay and character
evidence; and (3) the trial court erred in failing to allow
defense counsel to read and respond to a jury note which
evidenced juror confusion. As set forth herein, the evidence
was sufficient to sustain Dowda's conviction for trespass
and the admission of any hearsay was harmless; however, the
trial court was required to give defense counsel an
opportunity to review the jury note and to suggest an
appropriate response. Because the trial court failed to do
so, we reverse Dowda's trespass conviction. We note,
however, that the State is entitled to retry Dowda because
the evidence supported his conviction.
in the light most favorable to Dowda's conviction,
evidence showed that the victim lived with her daughter and
granddaughter in Douglas County. On September 23, 2014, the
victim's granddaughter saw a white pick-up truck back up
onto the victim's property and stop about "two
steps" from a woodpile the victim kept on her property
about 25 yards from the roadway. The granddaughter saw Dowda,
who was wearing a bright orange shirt, standing by the right
side of the truck's tailgate, "pretty close" to
the wood pile.
granddaughter then phoned her mother and said that there were
two people in a truck backed up to the victim's firewood
pile. The victim and her daughter came running out of the
house and saw the white pick-up on her property with the
tailgate up against her woodpile. The truck did not appear to
victim and her daughter saw the truck pull out, drive up the
street, turn onto another road, and stop. Two
"boys" were inside the truck at that time, and one
of them had dark hair and was wearing a bright orange shirt.
Shortly thereafter, the boys abandoned the truck on a nearby
victim called 911 and when the investigating officer arrived
she went over to where the truck was parked. The
investigating officer determined that the truck belonged to
Dowda's father, who lived nearby. The officer then went
to Dowda's home and told Dowda's father that the
truck had been impounded. The father called Dowda, and the
officer spoke with Dowda on the phone and asked him to return
arrived at his home on foot about five to ten minutes later
wearing a bright orange shirt, and he told the officer that
the truck had broken down. The officer testified that there
were tire tracks in the victim's grass going from the
street curb up to five feet from the woodpile, and that the
tire tracks were inconsistent with a broken-down vehicle.
was accused of criminal trespass and criminal attempt to
commit a misdemeanor (theft by taking). Following a jury
trial, he was convicted of the criminal trespass count, but
acquitted of the criminal attempt count. Dowda now appeals.
appeal, Dowda contends that the evidence was insufficient to
support his conviction for criminal trespass. We disagree.
person commits the offense of criminal trespass when he
"knowingly and without authority. . . [e]nters upon the
land or premises of another person . . . for an unlawful
purpose[.]" OCGA § 16-7-21 (b) (1).
the victim's granddaughter saw Dowda back the truck onto
the victim's property and stop it next to the woodpile,
and Dowda fled in the truck and abandoned it on a nearby
street right after he was spotted by the victim and her
daughter. Moreover, Dowda's explanation that the truck
had broken down was inconsistent with the tire tracks on the
victim's property, as well as the witnesses'
testimony that the truck did not appear to be stuck. This
evidence authorized the jury to find that Dowda knowingly and
without authority backed the white pickup truck onto the
victim's property for the unlawful purpose of taking the
victim's firewood. Consequently, the evidence was sufficient
to support Dowda's conviction for criminal trespass. See
Harris v. State, 222 Ga.App. 56, 57 (1) (473 S.E.2d
229) (1996) (evidence that defendant was found walking up the
stairs of a burglarized fraternity house at 3:00 a.m. was
sufficient to support a finding of unlawful purpose in
support of his conviction for criminal trespass); Smith
v. State, 226 Ga.App. 150, 151 (1) (485 S.E.2d 538)
(1997) (evidence that a man matching defendant's
description had chiseling tools and left a building shortly
after the building's door was chiseled open was
sufficient to support his criminal trespass conviction).
two enumerations of error, Dowda also contends that the trial
court erroneously admitted hearsay evidence at his trial.
Specifically Dowda argues that the trial court erred in
allowing (1) the victim to testify about her
granddaughter's phone call, and (2) the officer to
testify about Dowda's father's demeanor when the
officer told the father why he had to impound the truck.
Because these alleged ...